Safin, Santoro out of Marseille
Both world No.59 Santoro and No.27 Safin had previously announced they would be retiring at the end of 2009. -AFP
MARSEILLE (France) - DARLING of the home crowd Fabrice Santoro and charismatic Russian Marat Safin bowed out of the ATP tournament in Marseille on Tuesday in their final season as professionals.
Former US and Australian Open champion Safin lost 4-6 6-3 6-2 to Frenchman Arnaud Clement while 36-year-old Santoro, playing in the tournament for the 11th time, was beaten by compatriot Julien Benneteau 4-6 6-4 6-2.
Both world No.59 Santoro and No.27 Safin had previously announced they would be retiring at the end of 2009.
Benneteau made his powerful play tell against doubles partner Santoro who attempted drop shots and other strokes which might have pleased the crowd but weren't effective to win the key points.
Benneteau could well play another Frenchman in Marc Gicquel, who took the place of Richard Gasquet who withdrew on Monday, should he beat a lucky loser or qualifier in his first round match on Wednesday.
Clement's solid service and parsimony in giving away easy points slowly broke down No.7 seed Safin who made multiple unforced errors, leaving the Frenchman a meeting with Germany's Mischa Zverev in the next round.
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